In an exclusive interview on Sunday Night, ex-Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and the mother of his fifth child, Vikki Campion, opened up about the beginnings of their relationship, the pressure to terminate their illegitimate pregnancy, and the relentless media attention.
Here’s a recap of every stunning moment.
On the beginnings of their relationship
This was an area where the couple was more closed; Vikki Campion and Barnaby Joyce explained how their relationship transitioned from professional to romantic, but only in roundabout terms.
“I think we were close for a long time before there was anything,” Vikki said.
“You do become very good mates first,” Barnaby added.
“I was going through some fairly difficult private circumstances of my own. He was also going through some things,” Vikki said.
“You can’t help who you fall in love with.
“We were…..very conscious of the fact that we had to be, you know… that it was… if something happened, it was going to be a big issue.”
On the breakdown of his marriage
Barnaby was very vague in describing his own “difficult” private circumstances, referring to his marriage with ex-wife Natalie, he said: “I’m not going to go into the gory details, but it was, you know… it is what it is.”
He blamed his infidelity mostly on the physical distance from his wife.
“It’s quite simple. It’s you live on the road. You’re living in motels. You’re always somewhere else…”
He also refused to admit whether he still had feelings for Natalie or talk further about the breakdown of his marriage.
"I'm not gonna humiliate anyone by saying yes or saying no. That's completely private," he said.
He did reluctantly acknowledge that his relationship with Vikki was an affair "in the terminology of it".
Barnaby was married to Natalie for 23 years. They share four daughters, Bridgette, 20, Julia, 19, Caroline, 17, and Odette, 15.
Admitting to his daughters that the news of his affair was true, he said, was a very hard conversation.
"The biggest failure of my life was the failure of my marriage. I'm very aware of that. Vastly more important than the political side was, you know, for Nat and the kids," he said.
"I couldn't give a shit about the political ramifications, really."
On the unplanned pregnancy
When Vikki fell pregnant, she knew that Barnaby would lose his job as Deputy Prime Minister.
Although Barnaby is strongly pro-life and "against abortion", Vikki considered terminating the pregnancy.
"I basically felt like I had two options. You know, if I went and then just move overseas. If I could just have an abortion and just forget everything," Vikki said.
The 33-year-old drove interstate in an attempt to terminate the pregnancy, as the medicine required for the termination was not available in Canberra. However, once she arrived, she couldn't go through with it.
"From my perspective, it was a miracle that I was pregnant in the first place," she said.
Vikki had medical issues, which she believed would impact her ability to have children.
On media attention
In the thick of the media frenzy, Barnaby and Vikki had journalists sitting on their front lawn and drones coming up to their windows for over three weeks.
"We were at our wit's end. We had been locked up in a house for about three weeks. We were living a nightmare" Barnaby recounts.
In an effort to take the heat off, Barnaby reportedly told a newspaper that it was possible the baby wasn't his.
"It was a tipping point, and there were so many people who were close to me who said, "What on earth possessed you to say that?" he said.
On social media, Vikki was labelled a "homewrecker".
"I hope that the baby's born stillborn" is just one comment Vikki received.
"Innocent people were hurt. I'm so sorry that so many were dragged through this. I apologise," Vikki added.
On the pressure to abort
There was outside pressure for Vikki to get an abortion, from people within parliament, she claimed.
"So they came to me. They said, uh... They said, "You're pregnant." And...I said you know...' it's too late.' "It has...it has a heartbeat." they're gonna come after you."
Vikki said it was conservative party members who suggested the abortion, mostly from the Nationals party.
On giving birth
"I had absolute angels at Armidale Hospital. The midwives there were just incredible, and they were super protective. And they seemed to be the only people to me at that point who realised an innocent little baby was [tied up] in this whole thing. We managed to keep it quiet," Vikki said.
The lengths were extreme. Vikki told her brother not to send flowers after the birth.
"There'd been journalists who'd been contacting florists in the region..." Vikki said.
She added the pregnancy and birth were difficult, and riddled with illness.
"He was enormous!" Vikki said.
"As soon as I saw him... everything was worth it for this."
Barnaby and Vikki faced criticism for accepting $150,000 for the Sunday Night interview, especially given Barnaby insisted the matter should be kept private.
Barnaby Joyce won't be back in parliament until after the winter break.